Establishment of the Raffaella Cribiore Fund for Archaeology at ISAW

Roger S. Bagnall, Emeritus Professor of Ancient History and Leon Levy Director Emeritus, and his wife Whitney S. Bagnall, have endowed the Raffaella Cribiore Fund for Archaeology in honor of Prof. Raffaella Cribiore, who passed away unexpectedly on July 13, 2023. The endowment will support archaeological fieldwork in the Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds, including Egypt, and the publication of the results of that fieldwork.

Prof. Cribiore is well known as an expert on ancient education, having done pioneering work on the papyrological remains of the educational system in Greco-Roman Egypt in her dissertation “Writing, teachers and students in Graeco-Roman Egypt.” Prof. Bagnall advised this dissertation while at Columbia University, and it was subsequently published in 1996 as a monograph with the same name, quickly becoming a standard reference work in the field. As Prof. Bagnall recently noted, “it was a revolutionary achievement, the first study of school texts based on an investigation of the materiality of these texts, both supports and handwriting. … I learned more from it than from any other dissertation I directed.” Prof. Cribiore followed up this achievement with Gymnastics of the Mind: Greek Education in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt (Princeton, 2001), which in 2004 won the Goodwin Prize of the Society for Classical Studies, awarded for “outstanding contributions to classical scholarship.” More recently, she has written important contributions about Libanius, a late antique rhetorician and teacher from Antioch.

What is perhaps less well known is that Prof. Cribiore was an early and steadfast supporter of the Amheida Excavations. She accompanied Prof. Bagnall during the 2001 preliminary field season, and after that she was a constant presence whenever writing was found on the walls of ancient Trimithis. Ubi poemata, ibi Raffaella. The project in which she was deeply engaged at the time of her death was the organization of the 69th Entretiens sur l’Antiquité classique of the Fondation Hardt in Geneva: “Les espaces du savoir dans l’antiquité – Spaces for Learning in Antiquity.” Her presentation, which was delivered posthumously for her by her co-organizer this August, was entitled “Spaces for Teaching and their Use” and deeply informed by her decades of work at Trimithis. Dr. David Ratzan, who recently succeeded Prof. Bagnall as director of the Amheida Excavations, recalls reading with Prof. Cribiore the pedagogical poems painted on the walls of the classroom attached to the House of Serenos as one of the defining experiences of his graduate education. She helped transform all of Trimithis into a space for teaching.

The Bagnalls' generous gift will help ensure that work goes on at Amheida and that it remains a space for learning for coming generations.

 If you wish to further support this fund you are welcome to send a check payable to New York University and indicate in the memo the Raffaella Cribiore Fund for Archaeology.
 Please send your check to:

ISAW Development Office 
15 East 84th Street

New York, NY 10028

 If you have any questions about other methods of giving please email


List of publications by Raffaella about Amheida

“A teacher's dipinto from Trimithis (Dakhleh Oasis)”
Journal of Roman Archaeology 21 (2008), pp. 170–192.
(with Paola Davoli and David M. Ratzan) 

“Una scuola di greco del IV secolo d.C. a Trimithis (Oasi di Dakhla, Egitto)”
Atene e Roma (2010), pp. 73–87.
(with Paola Davoli) 

“Christianity on Thoth's Hill,” in: R. S. Bagnall, P. Davoli, C. A. Hope (eds.), The Oasis Papers 6: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference of the Dakhleh Oasis Project. Oxford, Oxbow (2012), pp. 409–415.
(with Roger S. Bagnall) 

“New literary texts from Amheida, ancient Trimithis (Dakhla Oasis, Egypt)”
Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 187 (2013), pp. 1–14. 

An Oasis City. New York, NYU Press & ISAW (2015)
(with Roger S. Bagnall, Nicola Aravecchia, Paola Davoli, Olaf E. Kaper, and Susanna McFadden) 

“Inscriptions from tombs at Bir esh-Shaghala”
Chronique d'Égypte 90 (2015), pp. 335–349.
(with Günter Vittmann and Roger S. Bagnall) 

“Was there an interest in literary culture in the Great Oasis? Some answers,” in: R. S. Bagnall, G. Tallet (eds.), The Great Oasis of Egypt, the Kharga and Dakhla oases in antiquity.
Cambridge University Press (2019), pp. 269–280. 

“The encomium of an official”
Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 213 (2020), pp. 98–101.

“New literary texts from Amheida, ancient Trimithis (Dakhla Oasis, Egypt)”
Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 187 (2013), pp. 1–14.
(with Paola Davoli)